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U.S. Mail Assistance 

 

Postage Metering Services

Mail and Messenger Services provides postage metering services for numerous agencies, boards, and commissions through the Springfield and Chicago CMS mail centers. This service eliminates the need for many postage meter leases and reduces the workload in individual agencies.

Agencies completely prepare envelopes and flats for mailing and indicate class of mailing to be used. The outgoing mail is then picked up at the regular route time by a Mail and Messenger employee or dropped off by an agency employee at a CMS mail center prior to 4 p.m. Agencies are billed for their postage use on a monthly basis.

The Mail and Messenger postage metering service may be utilized alone or in conjunction with the presort contracts. If your agency is interested in utilizing the Mail and Messenger postage metering service, contact the Mail and Messenger Springfield office at (217) 782-7685.

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Presort Contractual Agreements

CMS has negotiated presort contractual agreements for outgoing State of Illinois mail in the Springfield and Chicago areas. Use of presorting can save more than 10 percent of postage costs without delaying mail delivery and is available for both envelopes and flats. The presort firm picks up outgoing mail at your facility, eliminating the need for your staff to deliver mail to the post office.

The presort contractual agreements may be utilized alone or in conjunction with the Mail and Messenger postage metering service. If your agency is interested in utilizing the presort contracts, contact the Mail and Messenger Springfield office at (217) 782-7685.

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Procedures for Outgoing U.S. Mail

While CMS Mail and Messenger Services offers delivery to more than 870 stops in the Springfield and metro Chicago areas, use of the U.S. Postal Service should be considered for deliveries not available through CMS Mail and Messenger Services.

The following procedures for the preparation of outgoing U.S. Mail were developed in conjunction with the United States Postal Service (USPS). Following these guidelines will help ensure that your U.S. Mail delivery is as fast, reliable, and economical as possible.

Mailing Economically

  • All U.S. mail will be sent first class unless otherwise requested. Whenever feasible, users should request third-class bulk mail for printed materials and parcels weighing less than 16 ounces.
  • Understand the various mailing options if your mail requires special handling. Certified mail with receipt for a one-ounce letter costs two-thirds more than just sending the same letter certified. Registered mail should not be used to gain a return receipt. Registered mail is only needed on domestic mail if insurance is needed. A registered one-ounce letter with no insurance will cost 117 percent more than a certified letter with return receipt.
  • CMS has negotiated presort contracts for both first-class mail and flats. Utilizing these contracts will not slow mail service and will typically save over 10 percent on postage costs.

Addressing for Reliable Delivery

  • Letter mail intended for dispatch through the USPS should be enclosed in an envelope containing the complete, legibly typed or written address of the recipient, including the ZIP+4 code, and the sender's complete return address.
  • When using window envelopes, make certain that the address, including the ZIP+4 code, is completely visible.
  • Business envelopes with top-sealing flaps need not be sealed. This is done automatically when the envelope is metered. However, large envelopes with side or top-sealing flaps should be sealed before being sent to your mailroom.
  • To avoid mutilation in the metering process, stapled enclosures should be placed carefully into the lower left-hand corner of the envelope. The use of paper clips should be avoided.
  • Remember, the post office delivers mail to the address shown immediately above the city and state.

Example

XYZ COMPANY
P.O. Box 0000
1875 North St.
Glenview, IL 60025-2345

This letter will be delivered to the street address, not the P.O. box number. If the box number had been placed above the city and state, the letter would be delivered to the box number.

Addressing for Faster Delivery

The U.S. Postal Service offers the following addressing suggestions to speed processing by electronic scanning equipment.

  • Type or print complete addresses in the middle of a white envelope, using black ink. For fastest processing, use printed reply envelopes.
  • Always use the complete return address.
  • When an attention line is necessary, put it first.
  • In addition to the street address, P.O. box number, rural route number, or highway contract route number, include the following:
    • N (North), S (South), E (East), W (West), NE, NW, SE, or SW
    • AVE (Avenue), ST (Street), DR (Drive), RD (Road), PL (Place), or CIR (Circle)
    • RM (Room), STE (Suite), or APT (Apartment) number
  • Always use the ZIP+4 code on the last line of the address, next to the city and state. Use a hyphen(-) between the fifth and sixth numbers.

Other mailing Tips

  • All parcels must weigh less than 70 pounds and must be smaller than 17 inches by 23 inches.
  • Remember to mail early and often--prepare and place outgoing mail in the mailboxes throughout the day. Do not save it all until the last pickup.

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Mailing Options

When selecting delivery options, consider the full range of USPS choices along with those of private carriers and choose the most economical means to fit your needs.

Certified and Registered Mail

Certified mail provides the sender with a mailing receipt and a record of delivery that is maintained at the addressee's post office and online at www.usps.com. This service is used for items of no monetary value, which are sent and handled as ordinary first class mail. A return receipt acknowledging delivery may be obtained for an additional fee.

Registered mail is used for items of value, which can be insured for an additional fee. Registered mail may also be used for foreign mail that requires a signed receipt.

Fees:

CERTIFIED
$2.80
Plus First-Class Postage

CERTIFIED WITH RETURN RECEIPT
$2.80 Plus First-Class Postage
$2.30 Return Receipt
Plus First-Class Postage

REGISTERED
$10 minimum (no insurance)
Fee based on declared value
Insurance up to $25,000.00
in declared value available
$2.30 Return Receipt
Plus First-Class Postage

Bulk Mailings

Standard mail consists of mailable matter that is neither mailed or required to be mailed as First-Class Mail nor entered as Periodicals and that weighs less than 16 ounces. Standard mail may be reproduced by any process other than handwriting or typewriting. Circulars, including printed letters, which are being sent in identical terms to more than one person, are standard mail. A circular does not lose its character as such if a date and the individual names of the addressee and sender are written (handwritten or typewritten) on the circular or written corrections of typographical errors are made on the circular.

All bulk standard mailings must either contain a minimum of 200 pieces or weigh 50 pounds. All the pieces must contain a correct ZIP+4 code or a correct 5-digit ZIP code.

Dimensions for Standard Mail:

Each letter-size piece must be rectangular and:

  • For height, no more than 6 1/8 or less than 3 1/2 inches.
  • For length, no more than 11 1/2 or less than 5 inches.
    • 0.007 inch thick, if no more than 4 1/4 inches high and 6 inches long; or
    • 0.009 inch thick, if more than 4 1/4 inches high or 6 inches long, or both

Each flat-size piece must be rectangular and:

  • For height, no more than 12 inches and no less than 5 inches.
  • For length, no more than 15 inches and no less than 6 inches.
  • For thickness, no more than 0.75-inch and no less than 0.009 inch.

Standard mail should be sealed or secured so that it can be handled by machines yet be easily examinable by a postal official since standard mail is not sealed against postal inspection. Mailing items at the standard mail rate implies consent by the mailer to inspection of the contents, whether secured or not.

All bulk mailings must be deposited at the post office where bulk mailing fees are paid.

Fees and Methods of Payment:

Annual Fees

Agencies that use bulk mail must pay the U.S. Postal Service a $150.00 fee per 12-month period.

Postage may be paid by postage meter, pre-canceled stamps, or permit imprint. If an agency chooses to use permit imprint, the USPS will impose an additional one-time fee of $150.00.

Permit Imprint

Permit imprint mailing can be paid through an established trust account at the USPS. Trust accounts must have a balance large enough to cover the cost of the entire mailing. If there is insufficient money in the account, the post office will refuse to accept the mail. Permit holders can inquire about trust account balances by calling the Bulk Mail section at the local post office.

Postage Meter

When an agency uses a postage meter on standard mail, a date is not required on the meter stamp or meter tape. However, if the meter does contain a date, it must be the same date the mail is presented for mailing. If the USPS refuses the mailing because of improper preparation, it must be returned for mailing on the same date shown in the meter impression. If it is not returned on the same day, the pieces would need to be re-metered (re-dated) with a .00 impression to correct the date.

Postage Statements

All bulk mailings must be accompanied with a completed postage statement. For information regarding the proper postage statement, contact your local post office.

Traying and Sacking

Information regarding the proper traying and/or sacking of bulk mailings is in the USPS Quick Service Guide. On the Internet, go to www.usps.com and click All Products & Services; click P for Postal Explorer, and under Domestic Mail, select Quick Service Guide.

Priority Mail

Large or thick envelopes, tubes, and packages containing mailable items up to 70 pounds can be sent using Priority Mail. This service is typically used to send documents, gifts, and merchandise. Free Priority Mail envelopes, boxes, and tubes are available at the Post Office or can be ordered online at www.usps.com. Flat rate envelopes let you send your documents for as low as $4.90, regardless of how much the item weighs. Priority Mail offers delivery to every address in the USA, including P.O. boxes and military addresses. There is no additional cost for Saturday or residential deliveries.

Extra services available with Priority Mail are:

  • Certified mail
  • Certificate of mailing
  • Insurance
  • Registered mail
  • Special handling
  • Delivery Confirmation
  • Signature Confirmation
  • COD
  • Restricted delivery
  • Return receipt
  • Return receipt for merchandise

If you print the shipping label online at www.usps.com, Delivery Confirmation is free.

Express Mail

Letters, large or thick envelopes, tubes, and packages containing mailable items can be sent using Express Mail, starting at $13.65. This guaranteed service includes tracking and insurance up to $100. Delivery to most destinations is available 365 days a year, with no extra charge for Saturday, Sunday, and holiday delivery. Free Express Mail envelopes, boxes, and tubes are available at the Post Office or at www.usps.com.

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Further Assistance

For further assistance, contact your local post office, or CMS Mail and Messenger Services at:

Mail and Messenger Services
200 E. Ash St.
Springfield, Illinois, 62704-4769
Phone: (217) 782-7685

Mail and Messenger Services
James R. Thompson Center, C100
100 W. Randolph St.
Chicago, IL 60601-2613
Phone: (312) 814-2196